Hughenden celebrates trackside upgrade

Passion, dedication and a remarkable fundraising effort was celebrated last Saturday when the Hughenden Jockey Club opened its new steward’s tower at the 2018 Bracelet Races.

Member for Traeger Robbie Katter, who was honoured to officially open the tower alongside Hughenden Jockey Club president Sherilee Honnery, said the new steward’s tower was likely the best in all of western Queensland.

He said the efforts of the committee in upgrading the racetrack and grounds were a credit to the Hughenden community.

The Hughenden Jockey Club has been on a mission to rebuild its facilities since the old grandstand was demolished in 2012.

Since then the committee have been able to fundraise more than $120,000 and access funding worth more than $94,000.

This has given the small bush racing club the ability to rebuild the steward’s tower, jockey rooms, secretary office, day stalls and tie-up stalls to ensure that they adhere to the minimum standards for Racing Queensland.

These upgrades has been in addition to the countless volunteer hours in grounds and track maintenance.

Mr Katter, who enjoyed the day trackside last Saturday alongside around 400 racegoers, said the committee’s efforts had given new life to north-western bush racing.

“It means so much to people in the country to have race meets such as the Hughenden Races take place,” he said.

“They bring the community together and give people something to look forward to, but these things don’t just happen overnight.

“It takes dedicated committees to put these events on and the Hughenden Jockey Club is a fine example of that.”

Mrs Honnery said she was delighted that the new tower was complete.

“It is now much safer for our stewards and officials to use,” she said.

“Our next big project is a new, shaded patrons’ area with a new bar and kitchen, which we are hoping to be successful in some funding that will be announced in July.

“The club has been working without a kitchen all this time and a bar that could tell many a story but is tired and ready for replacement.

“The committee are keen to ensure that life is made as simple as it can be and not as physically taxing on its volunteers, and having facilities that save putting up marquees and such every race meet is high on the list.”

The new steward’s tower was funded by the Community Gambling Benefit Fund, Supertruss, G & C Jones Electrical and the Hughenden Jockey Club.

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